A sixth mass extinction?

Discuss how to take action in helping wildlife and the environment.

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A sixth mass extinction?

Post by Ritatalia » Sun Jan 01, 2017 1:42 pm

It's coming people, probably, I am not sure. Although this time it's not caused naturally, but by us.

The other day in ecology class I was having a conversation with my teacher about the destruction of our Earth, and how it's possible that one day the human, animal and plant population might eventually go near extinct. It sounds terrifying, but it's true. We can help the Earth in many ways, and a lot of people are putting significant effort to achieve that, but is it really helping? I mean, the population and demand is increasing, so how would we stop deforestation for land to live in? How would we stop killing more cows and chickens? How would we stop fossil fuels when we need electricity, fuel, etc? The amount of litter in the ocean and land is increasing, killing more animals. There so many problems in our environment which need fixing, but people are still not aware. I think it's a bit difficult to find the proper solution, but do you think it might happen?

Just remember it is a slow process, so it can take thousands of more years. To be honest, I don't want to live in a world which will become a total wreck, because I do care about the environment so much. I am just disappointed with my self because no matter how hard I try to help, it all goes to waste. Does anyone share this feeling?
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Re: A sixth mass extinction?

Post by Xela Winchester » Sun Jan 08, 2017 3:56 pm

Honestly, I feel that if humanity was to be eradicated, the cause would be either anarchy (which would probably just produce a hostile wasteland instead of extinction) or a plague of some sort.

I've thought about this quite frequently, and it scares me to think of what our world will become as the years go on.
Although, maybe a mass extinction of the human species wouldn't be such a bad thing for our planet; we destroy habitats, kill innocent animals, kill each other, and demand more and more resources as our population continues to grow.
If you ask me, humanity wasn't supposed to advance this far. We're harming our planet because of it.
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Re: A sixth mass extinction?

Post by Writers Block » Sun Jan 08, 2017 5:36 pm

I'm not really sure what the point of this thread is? Are you just spreading awareness of how badly everything could become if we keep on the track we're on? Are you asking if there's anything we can do to change it? Are you just asking for validation?

Anyways, I know things look bleak and it's hard to feel hopeful when all the media focuses on the bad things that happen. If you look at this article, you can see that a lot of good things did happen in the last year! Not all of them are nature-related but a good deal of them are: endangered animal numbers are going up in a number of species, the ozone layer is repairing itself, volunteers in India planted 50 million trees (let me say that again: 50 million trees!) in order to help the environment.

We're hurting this planet but we're also working hard to fix the damage we've done. If you feel really strongly about environmental damages I strongly advise you to get involved! I'm sure there are petitions you can sign online and marches and/or protests and/or organizations you can get involved with depending on your age and location.

I know it seems a bit corny, but think about Dr. Seuss's The Lorax. No one cared about the environment and it all became toxic waste. Remember that "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not."

A mass extinction might be caused by humans at some point in the distant future, but if you sit around and do nothing you aren't going to help put it off or stop it!
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Re: A sixth mass extinction?

Post by Ritatalia » Tue Jan 10, 2017 4:01 am

Mikazuki-Lynx wrote:I'm not really sure what the point of this thread is? Are you just spreading awareness of how badly everything could become if we keep on the track we're on? Are you asking if there's anything we can do to change it? Are you just asking for validation?

Anyways, I know things look bleak and it's hard to feel hopeful when all the media focuses on the bad things that happen. If you look at this article, you can see that a lot of good things did happen in the last year! Not all of them are nature-related but a good deal of them are: endangered animal numbers are going up in a number of species, the ozone layer is repairing itself, volunteers in India planted 50 million trees (let me say that again: 50 million trees!) in order to help the environment.

We're hurting this planet but we're also working hard to fix the damage we've done. If you feel really strongly about environmental damages I strongly advise you to get involved! I'm sure there are petitions you can sign online and marches and/or protests and/or organizations you can get involved with depending on your age and location.

I know it seems a bit .....
I do infact agree with this, you are correct and I appreciate your positivity. And don't get me wrong, I have always tried to help the environment in many ways such as reusing plastic bags or planting a tree. I'm a very positive person, but there is no way I can run away from an issue which might happen after a thousand years, I'm only curious. Besides, everyone is going to die now or then, it is a part of life and I'm not afraid to admit it. If we want to be one with nature, we need to appreciate that if we continue treating the environment the way we are, we need to accept the consequences of dying and then appreciate that new life will form. On the other hand, more and more people are helping to conserve lands, help species, raise awareness and so on, but what I'm trying to say is that for the future, people can start considering to put effort to help. I was inspired to start this thread because most of the people in my school literally do not care about learning about the environment, even if they know what might be good. This is not just directed to them though, it's for everyone. How can you improve and do the good to the environment, if you don't want to think about what might happen to/in the future? We know the present, and it's important, but the future has greater importance I believe. This thread is all about ideas and awareness, and I totally understand your questioning about this.

Thanks for commenting! :)
Xela Winchester wrote:
Honestly, I feel that if humanity was to be eradicated, the cause would be either anarchy (which would probably just produce a hostile wasteland instead of extinction) or a plague of some sort.

I've thought about this quite frequently, and it scares me to think of what our world will become as the years go on.
Although, maybe a mass extinction of the human species wouldn't be such a bad thing for our planet; we destroy habitats, kill innocent animals, kill each other, and demand more and more resources as our population continues to grow.
If you ask me, humanity wasn't supposed to advance this far. We're harming our planet because of it.
[/quote]

Exactly, and we did reach a carrying capacity. Take the rainforest for example: They are located in places were unwealthy people live, which means that they will be cutting trees down, which is home to 50% of the species on Earth. I think the world needs to be closer together, and to consider that sharing resources is worth a try. I have more than I need as well, and I can share them with another person. Just imagine if everyone like me tried doing this, how much more we can prevent issues from happening in the environment? O:
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Re: A sixth mass extinction?

Post by SolitaryHowl » Tue Jan 10, 2017 3:40 pm

Speaking as a student who is almost done her BSc in Ecology...I have bad news for you. Many scientists believe we have already entered the 6th mass extinction, we've been in it for years. Species are dying off at a rate never seen in humanity's history before, and its all due to human activities. And its only going to get worse.

That being said, it is important to not be an alarmist. I do not have any solutions (if I did, I'd probably have several nobel prizes!), but one of my professors has told me that the brightest people out there are working on ways to mitigate this (and climate change), and slow down the rate of extinction back down to acceptable/normal levels.

If you look at human history, when push comes to shove, we always find a way to solve huge problems. I have faith that we, as a species, will find a way to fix this before its too late. Perhaps maybe not in time to save many species, but in time to save our species.

Keep on doing what you are doing. Support the science, keep on educating the public and spreading awareness (but remember, its important to not be an alarmist: prevents panic & people take you more seriously), do not join/support Greenpeace as they are ecoterrorists & they shed a very bad light on the environmental sciences, donate your money and/or time to help (but be careful who you donate it to).

Here are some more ways you can help: http://www.cnn.com/2016/12/12/world/sut ... hing-help/

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Re: A sixth mass extinction?

Post by duskypack » Wed Jan 11, 2017 10:55 pm

SolitaryHowl wrote: Humans are the root of the problem, but we are also the solution. If we all just vanished into thin air, all life on Earth would still be in trouble.
Exactly! We've gotten to the point where some of the messes can only be fixed by us, so what are we waiting around for?
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Re: A sixth mass extinction?

Post by Ritatalia » Wed Jul 12, 2017 5:52 pm

I predict that people will begin to die quicker, and maybe more political and economical problems as well. The other day, my mother was talking to me about what I want to do in the future, I still have no idea, but I just wished that their were more environmental managers and 'organic' people. I never lived during the olden days, maybe I reincarnated - who knows - but I love the idea of living without electricity of cars. You can't imagine how much noise cars generate where I live, it's noisy 24/7. I continuously encourage people to save resources, recycle, yet no one does it. This generation is the most crucial to what's to come.
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Re: A sixth mass extinction?

Post by Phasoli » Mon Jul 17, 2017 1:15 pm

Ritatalia wrote:This generation is the most crucial to what's to come.
That statement reminds me of a time in my sixth grade class when we had an argument about plastic production. Some of us voted to keep plastic in production, as it would create jobs and keep the industry stable. Others voted against it due to environmental factors. I stood against plastic production and suggested that the jobs lost should be regained in recycling facilities, or as an employee who separates recyclable items from trash, cleans up litter, etc. The point is to reuse the plastic that we've created.

This sounds a little off-topic, but my point is that I, too am concerned about the mass extinction which is bound to intensify in the near future. Unfortunately, it is the future that I may have to witness. Of course, efforts are being made to prevent such a terrible idea, but my question is: Are we too late? What if we've already created problems so deep that they're irreversible? Will we find solutions fast enough?
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Re: A sixth mass extinction?

Post by Windstrider » Mon Jul 17, 2017 2:55 pm

Xela and Solitary bring up some especially good points in my opinion. Humanity has done some impressive things but are those advancements really worth what's been happening? But also if more people got involved...

And also my dad and I were talking about this sort of stuff a while ago, and he'd said that while solar power is a great idea (we'd driven past somebody's solar panels on a road trip), it's too expensive at the moment. But what if some people with enough money just took the plunge already and invested in it? If a bunch of people did that, then suddenly, it wouldn't be so expensive because lots of folks would be buying it, the price would continue to go down as more people bought it, word would get around, and that whole effect would increase exponentially.

Seriously people eventually need to wean ourselves off of things like fossil fuels. They're filthy, they cause problems, and if people don't start gradually going towards another power source, things are gonna get ugly when those fossil fuels run out or cause too much pollution to continue using. It's not good to rely on only one thing, anyway. But solar and wind power (not mentioning hydropower; dams...nuff said with the damage and disruption they cause to the fish, no pun intended) are so plentiful it's ridiculous to not go for those over expensive, destructive, foreign-relations-issue-causing fossil fuels. Again, gradually letting go of those would probably solve so many problems. Gradually is better than not at all, and unlike cold turkey, it's actually possible.

Even simple things like just picking up some trash or doing your part recycling, buying organic foods, etc can help. A lot of people in my neighborhood (not to mention their stupid stuck-up hoa that complains if someone's fence isn't white picket built at a certain height, yet does nothing about actual problems, like the creepy slob next door who never mowed his lawn, left trash out, and probably had vermin in his yard) are awful about picking up their trash; several times now, when we've gotten crummy weather that blows over their trash, not a single person was out picking anything up. I know picking up trash sucks but sadly the collective lazy/careless attitude kinda probably stops a few folks who might've considered cleaning up, since they knew they'd be the only ones even trying to pick stuff up.
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Re: A sixth mass extinction?

Post by Writers Block » Mon Jul 17, 2017 3:19 pm

In my opinion no matter how much the locals do nothing will really get solved unless we can get the big companies to make a change. Commercial agriculture uses 80% of water in California, a land suffering from severe drought. (1, 2) I'm sure that number might be skewered to make a point but you still have to admit that an awful lot of water is used for agricultural purposes in a land that would really benefit from some water management. Golf courses also use an exorbitant amount of water, up to a million gallons every week! (3) Commercial agriculture uses an incredible amount of land and energy and water -- I watched a documentary called Cowspiracy about this, explaining how raising livestock uses so much more space and energy than vegetable plots to grow that it's really not just a sustainable model. (Note: I'm not suggesting we all go vegan and I'm not vegan myself, and if you watch this documentary it pushes for that pretty obviously. I'm just pointing it out here as an eye-opener to learning how much resources agriculture in America takes up). Plus, commercial fishing kills whales and dolphins. (4) I also heard in Cowspiracy that some whales and dolphins get caught in commercial fishing nets and die that way as well, though I don't believe this article touches on that. Not to mention mass deforestation and other habitat-destroying habits that habitually kill lots of animals.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that picking up trash around your neighborhood, biking instead of driving, turning off the lights when you aren't at home, are all well and good, and every little bit has to help in some way. But unless we can get the big companies to get their act together, nothing is going to get solved. I know this post focuses a lot on agriculture but it just happens to be what I've been learning about most recently and I'm sure some google searches can pull up information about non-agriculture related resources that big commercialism is using up while telling American citizens that if they just turn off the water while washing their hands, the icebergs will stop melting. :/ (I'm salty about this if you can't tell.)

On a happier note, Massachusetts is moving to use 100% renewable energy! The changes are going to be implemented slower than I would have liked, but it's happening, if you look for it. Steps like this could be what gets the ball rolling.
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Re: A sixth mass extinction?

Post by Windstrider » Mon Jul 17, 2017 3:54 pm

True, funny that we're all being told to do this and that and make all these little sacrifices (not gonna give up the foods I like or not use electricity; I'm not making my life harder when others do nothing) but the big companies aren't doing a thing. Going off the fishing point, agreed. I saw a pretty disgusting article in a NatGeo magazine about fishing in the South China Sea and it showed the inside of a fishing ship (not bashing all fishing but this was gnarly). There was a guy holding some kind of tool to break the ice on this enormous pile of fish, in this dark, nasty-looking room, with clearly no respect for the animals providing people with food; they were just dumped in a pile, and on the dirty-looking floor. I'm also not a vegan or vegetarian (it just ain't happening, no desire to do so) but also this reminds me of a factory farming vid we saw in human geography class. Again, disgusting. I know there's tons of people who need food but apparently the companies can't even try to be humane or clean in most of those places. Ugh.

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And that's pretty cool about Massachusetts btw.
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Re: A sixth mass extinction?

Post by alebrije » Sun Feb 03, 2019 4:15 pm

I feel like we’re already hitting the point of extinction, though I may be incorrect. Animals species are dying incredible speed and only we are to blame. Same as forestation; our population is coming to a rise, and that might mean that our forests will be removed to make room for the newer generations. I feel like all our environmental problems are our fault, but I feel like we are the only solution to fix the damage we have done. I feel as though our world and our resources have been taken for granted for far too long. I just hope we can make things right before it’s too late.

But in all honesty, I think anarchy will destroy us before we fix it.

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Re: A sixth mass extinction?

Post by elkhunter123456 » Thu May 30, 2019 4:47 am

alebrije wrote:
Sun Feb 03, 2019 4:15 pm
I feel like we’re already hitting the point of extinction, though I may be incorrect. Animals species are dying incredible speed and only we are to blame. Same as forestation; our population is coming to a rise, and that might mean that our forests will be removed to make room for the newer generations. I feel like all our environmental problems are our fault, but I feel like we are the only solution to fix the damage we have done. I feel as though our world and our resources have been taken for granted for far too long. I just hope we can make things right before it’s too late.

But in all honesty, I think anarchy will destroy us before we fix it.
I agree because every 14 seconds another rainforest species goes extinct. If it keeps going at that rate,well rip rainforests.
Im done posting for now. there are not enough topics to post on :cry:

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Re: A sixth mass extinction?

Post by Lost Wolves » Mon Jun 24, 2019 4:53 pm

I can see a mass extinction going several ways:

* We continue doing what we're doing now, but are unable to save everything and eventually the majority of animal species go extinct.
* Another World War happens, and millions of plants, animals, and humans are killed in the aftermath. I think there's a good chance this could happen, and a good chance it won't. There's still, naturally, a lot of hostility between each country, and if you ask people from other countries on how they feel about the USA (or whatever country you're in) you'll get some pretty mixed opinions. However, everybody is also on a quest to not destroy eachother with nuclear weapons, so we'll see what happens.
* Humans get wiped out in some way or form (possibly with something like the 1918 Spanish Flu, in which literal millions of people died, or alternatively an unlucky war), but many of the problems we left behind still continue. Plastic, for example, will still wreck havoc on fish and animals that feed on them.

In order to solve our environmental issues, they first must be addressed. Yes, climate change and global warming exist. Yes, we have a HUGE plastic problem that is not only effecting animals but possibly humans as well via microplastics. Our problems have grown large, and if we do not fix them soon, they will get even larger. However, solving things costs money and manpower. The big issue, though, isn't necessarily that nobody cares, but that we just don't know HOW to fix these problems yet. A few different ideas have been brought up regarding the Great Pacific Ocean Patch and just cleaning up the ocean of plastics in general, one of the most popular being "Project Ocean Cleanup", but many people still don't think that's a viable way. Still, nothing is really a 'viable way'. Small things like recycling help, but they only help to prevent stuff like plastic in the ocean. The majority of people still do not recycle (my family included). Also, even if we DO recycle, our garbage problem has become too big to just prevent.

There's also stuff like global warming. Different power sources have been brought up, and yes, again, people still have disagreements on this. Part of the issue on these ideas are that they're simply too expensive. Stuff like fossil fuels are a huge cause of global warming. However, people continue to use them.

Furthermore, we are using other resources too much, like the Amazon Rainforest which is shrinking more and more as we speak. People are cutting down trees in the Amazon Rainforest because they need money. It's probably the best option they have to make money, considering that many South American countries (no offense) don't have the best economies.

There are 3 things standing in our way from fixing things:
- Lack of viable ideas on HOW to fix things
- Methods to fix things are too expensive for us or the average person to afford
- People as a whole still choose to contribute to the problems anyway, many times because they may not have much of a choice

Problem 1 and 2 just need people to put more effort, time, exposure, manpower, and money into, but problem 3 is fixed by fixing smaller human problems. Yes, problems with our economies, and stuff like that. If you are a starving college student $100,000 in debt because of student loans, for example, you're probably not going to be buying a Tesla anytime soon. You'll probably keep driving that old car your parents gave you because its the best you got.

Maybe I'm wrong, but this is my take on the environmental issues we have. Anyway, yes: a sixth mass extinction is possible, but can be prevented if we take action. Seeing how things are going right now, though, "action" will take a while; several more years at least.
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Re: A sixth mass extinction?

Post by DaniBeez » Tue Jun 25, 2019 2:52 pm

People are taking concrete steps towards tackling this problem!

Earlier this year, the United Nations released a major report about this. I got to listen to a webinar hosted by one of the report's author's. Aside from the not unexpected broad-scale messages of "action is needed now" and "corporations are the biggest contributors to human-induced climate change", there was another interesting take away that had broader applications to everyday life.

Basically, the most effective way to elicit mass change at the level of the consumer/general public (us!) is to find a middle ground between the current status quo and extremists. For example, it is unrealistic to expect enough people to go 100% vegan to actually impact climate change and biodiversity loss. It is also unrealistic to ask people to immediately stop driving fossil fuel vehicles. Movements who demand "all-or-nothing" leave those currently in the status quo feeling hopeless, and end up deterring these people from making any positive changes at all. Instead, smaller changes to one's routine, such as using public transit/cycling to do in-town errands, or only eating meat at dinner instead of all meals, are more effective approaches to mitigating an individual's impacts.

As consumers, what we choose to buy is where we have some of the greatest influence on large corporations, who in turn are the biggest contributors to climate change and biodiversity loss. Companies know this, and there are a confusing array of buzzword product labels claiming products are "Certified Organic" or "GMO-free". Some of these labels are legitimate, others are not. Consumer education is paramount, but challenging in the era of fake news and growing distrust in science. Buying some local food products, such as from a farmer's market, is a great option if you can afford to. Don't worry about organic, and definitely don't bother with GMO-free :wink:.

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